Mount Emei under Heavy Snow

Artist: Formerly attributed to Guo Xi (傳)郭熙 (ca. 1001-1090)
Historical period(s)
Ming or Qing dynasty, 17th century
Ink and color on silk
H x W (image): 181 x 109.8 cm (71 1/4 x 43 1/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view

Hanging scroll (mounted on panel)

China, landscape, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Mount Emei, Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911), snow, temple, village, winter

To 1915
L.C. Pang Collection (1864-1949), Chekiang, China, to 1915 [1]

From 1915 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from the L.C. Pang Collection, through C. T. Loo, in San Francisco, in 1915 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Original Kakemono and Makimono List, L. 958, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives. See also, P'ang Catalogue, No. 23, 1915. This object exhibits seals, colophons, or inscriptions that could provide additional information regarding the object’s history; see Curatorial Remarks in the object record for further details.

[2] According to an Accession List note, Charles Lang Freer purchased F1915.17- F1915.26 from the L.C. Pang Collection of Chekiang, China, through C. T. Loo, while at San Francisco in April 1915. Payment was made through Leyer and Co. of Shanghai, China. See Voucher no. 3, May 1915. According to Curatorial Remark 7, an undated folder sheet note, in the object record, this object was reproduced in Osvald Sire´n, Chinese Paintings in American Collections, Paris and Brussels: G. van Oest (1928), Part 5, plate 178.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Pang Yuanji (C.L. Freer source) 1864-1949


Silhouetting the convoluted edges of covered rocks and a complex tracery of dark, leafless branches against the uniform whiteness of deep winter snow, the unknown artist of this work created a frozen landscape of stark dramatic appeal and arresting visual intensity. Mount Emei towers above the western Sichuan Basin and is one of the Four Holy Mountains of Chinese Buddhism. Then, as now, temples perch and cluster on its slopes, rustic villages nestle along winding streams, visitors and pilgrims take lodging at scenic vistas, and plunging waterfalls cascade down precipitious cliffs. 

The composition represented in this painting was probably devised by an unknown artist of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) and became part of the general vocabulary of Chinese mountain painting. Ranging in date from the eleventh to eighteenth century, at least ten different versions of the composition survive today under a variety of titles. Many of these are attributed to either Li Cheng or Guo Xi, whose received style continued to evolve of the centuries. This painting is a fine example of the Li-Guo style as practiced during the late Ming and early Qing. Guo Xi's forged signature at lower left was probably added as a calculated attempt to fool and inexpert viewer or potential customer.

Published References
  • Hai wai i chen [Chinese Art in Overseas Collections]. Taipei, 1985. vol. 1, no. 21.
  • Max Loehr. Theme and Variations: A Winter Landscape in the Freer Gallery and Related Versions. vol. 9 Washington and Ann Arbor. pl. 1.
  • Suzuki Kei. Chugoku kaiga sogo zuroku [Comprehensive Illustrated Catalog of Chinese Painting]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1982-1983. vol. 1: p. 189.
  • Max Loehr. Chinese Painting with Sung Dated Inscriptions. vol. 4 Washington and Ann Arbor. p. 227.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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